This question is probably one of the hardest to answer for me. I mean I KNOW who I am, but how do I put into words who I am without boring YOU to tears.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Along the way, I’ll highlight some of the impactful life events that led me to becoming Dr. ‘Ali, The Fitness Doc ;)
I was born and raised in Savannah, GA, one of three daughters of a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom and religious leader (Imam)/counselor dad. I graduated from the Biological/ Medical Magnet program at Alfred Ely Beach High School in 1998 and headed straight into a summer math and science program and Tuskegee University, followed by my freshman year on a full academic scholarship as a biology major at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Turns out FAMU wasn’t the best fit for me, and I went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Biology from Talladega College, serving as the first Muslim Miss Talladega College, (2001-2002).
As you can see, biological science has been an integral part of my education since I started public school, eventually with me falling in love with the BIG picture of how the human body works and moves. As one to reach for the highest of heights, this led me to pursuing a PhD in Anatomy/Neuroscience from Howard University College of Medicine, with a fellowship in residence at the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and subsequently graduating from this program at 28 years old 😀
Sidenote: In the 5th year of what turned out to be a 7 year program, I met and married my love, Tariq ❤️. Marrying the right person is integral to personal success, but you don’t have to take my word for it!
After graduation, I worked at a non-profit organization developing Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum for programs that served underprivileged minorities women. Around the time I started working, I also found out I was expecting our first child - Lady T! . After Lady T was born, the gusto in working a 9-5 didn’t appeal to me anymore and I decided to take quit to decide what it is I REALLY wanted to do with my life. .for now anyway 😉
To help me sort things out, I decided to take running a little more seriously, go BIG and run a marathon. I started training for the Baltimore Running Festival Marathon in October 2011, but I got rear-ended in a car accident and had to stop training. I decided to run the inaugural Rock n Roll DC Marathon in March 2012 instead. It was during these runs that I thought about my life. I would ask myself. . what do I want to do? What is my passion? What am I good at? How do I combine my gifts, talents, and expertise? Believe me, there is A LOT of time to reflect and contemplate when you are running 10, 17, and 24 miles alone!! What I came to realize, is that I was doing it! The very act of running, exercise, and fitness, has been with me since childhood, through high school, college, and even while completing the Ph.D. Not only have I lived an active lifestyle, but I’ve always encouraged others to do the same. It was during this time that I decided to launch Fit and Healthy You with Dr. ‘Ali (FNHY), a Healthy Lifestyle Evolution!
It’s been a little over 4 years since I leaped, and I couldn’t be happier! As an anatomist, certified run coach, group exercise instructor, and Zumba instructor, I have combined my gifts and talents to make them work for me in a way that still allows me to live a lifestyle that is conducive to the family life I envisioned. I consult with area hospitals, universities, and multi-care facilities -- working evenings or weekends, sometimes I’m able to take my children to class with me.
I have written articles and launched several FNHY initiatives: 100 Fit Days, New Years Photo Challenge, 40 Days Sugar Free Challenge, and Thrive at 35!. As a homeschooling mom, I’m able to be an integral part of our children’s lives, and since this really is a natural progression of my personal health and fitness journey, it grows as much as I do -- at the time of this post I am 9 months pregnant with our third child!
Like all of us, I have no idea what my life has in store, but if my future is anything like my past, it will continue to involve my journey to live a fit and healthy lifestyle! Join my blog as I chronicle my journey as Dr. ‘Ali, The Fitness Doc -- teaching, loving, and living a fit and healthy me. . and you! :)